Mom, her bosses deserve thanks


After 36 years working at White’s Electronics, my mother, Avis Kittson, is retiring this week.

White’s has been a part of my life since I was a little girl. This was my mother’s first job after having children. My father, a self-employed drywaller, didn’t want her working outside the home. However, needing health benefits and a steady flow of income, my mother insisted, and took a manufacturing job at White’s.

As my brother, Tommy and I grew up, White’s provided hours which enabled a wife and mother to put in a day’s work, make it home shortly after the kids arrived home from school and have dinner ready on the table before the husband got home. White’s has consistently employed a large population of women in our community who have had to balance the demands of family, work and home. While times and the division of household duties have changed, White’s has no doubt played a role in the independence and development of many women in our community.

When I was in junior high, our family lost the battle of alcoholism and my father and mother divorced. We lived on Fern Ridge, and we lost our manufactured home on the property. My brother and mother were temporarily living in a shed on the property, while I stayed with Bob and Judy Keller. Kenny White went with my mother to the bank and co-signed a loan for my mother so she could purchase a trailer to put on the property. Not only was he helping a single mother and two children stay together and put a roof over their head, he was helping her establish her credit.

I will always remember the A-frame building, which used to be a chapel, on the company grounds and it leads me to believe that the company was built on faith, hard work and appreciation and love for the community. I took my first college class, an electronics class, on the White’s Campus, as a junior in high school. When I was a business student at Oregon State University, White’s allowed me to interview their employees, review the plant, and write a paper on them for my Operations Management class. When I started the Hero Half Marathon, team White’s was right there.

My mother is a smart, hardworking, beautiful woman. While her skills and her talents far exceed the manufacturing position she has held at White’s, she has been satisfied and thankful for her job that has enabled her to accomplish those things that have defined her the most. Avis Kittson is a loyal and devoted caretaker, caring for her own mother for over 50 years. She is a model of grace and forgiveness, allowing my brother and I to move our father into her home after he suffered a stroke, and caring for him, her ex-husband for over 20 years. She is an educator, and a self-sacrificing, caring parent.

She raised a son who would go on to own his own business, Sugar City Drywall, and would adopt and forever change and bless the life of his deaf and autistic son, Alex. She raised me, her daughter, a partner and lawyer at the Morley Thomas Law Firm. She is a proud and devoted grandmother and great-grandmother.

My mother never had to choose between family and work. Her treasure has always been her family. White’s, a family company, has always shared this value and has provided the environment for her to care for her children, her ageing mother, her disabled ex-husband, and her grandchildren. White’s Electronics facilitated her independence, provided her health insurance, and helped her to establish credit. I am grateful for White’s Electronics, my mother, and the many women at White’s, who like my mom, place an extremely high value on family.

Rachel Kittson-Maqatish

Sweet Home